Why Use a Travel Consultant for Your Custom Trip to Italy?
April 30, 2015
“I am totally capable of planning and booking my own trips. I have the tools and the tricks. What I don’t have anymore are personal contacts and boots on the ground.” Paulette Hurdlik, as reprinted from
International Travel News, November 2014.
Paulette sounds like many of my travelers. Savvy, sophisticated, well-versed in the joys and trials of international travel. She travels both with her husband and with groups of friends, often to destinations where English is not the first language. She has particular demands, like the desire to take public transport in Norway in order to avoid WWIII by attempting to navigate there in a car with her husband. Or visiting Morocco in spring 2011, a period of constant political and military unrest. In both cases, her trusted travel agent back home made arrangements that responded to these needs in spades. All the transportation connections in Norway (boat, bus, ferry and even a school bus) were seamless, and her Moroccan experience proved extremely successful, with her travel agent “brilliantly proactive” throughout the trip, thereby easing any misgivings she and her friends may have had for their safety or otherwise. Paulette says “This is the reason we travel: to gain a more intimate and thorough understanding of different people and cultures. At a time when we could have been quite nervous, the circumstance actually was a door to even deeper friendships and more revealing conversation than we normally would have had.”
I’ve heard many similar stories from my clients. For first-timers to Italy, Adagio’s custom travel planning provides security regarding accommodations, transfers, guides and sites to see on your own. Many of you have limited time on your holiday, and we can advise based on decades of experience how to best use that time to see the parts of Italy that matter most to you. Sixteen years of travel planning, combined with years of work as a luxury tour leader for walking and biking adventures, have given me the perspective to assist in planning your time in Italy with as much or as little structure as you desire.
Here is an excerpt from first-timers Mark and Melissa Costanzo’s fall 2014 trip:
“Desenzano [on Lake Garda in Northern Italy] has been a real respite of relaxation surrounded by this beautiful town and lake. We’ve had a nice time just walking around and shopping and then shopping! Our dinner last night was outstanding …Our B&B here in Garda is beautiful. Maddalena couldn’t be more adorable. I love the room decor.”
“Boots on the ground” really sums it up. I lived in Italy for 6 years, own a home there, speak the language fluently, and travel over at least 2-3 times each year. I constantly enhance my list of trusted Italian partners through discoveries made at trade shows and through friends and referrals, followed by rigorous site inspections. I only choose places I would want to lay my own head, guides I would want to spend the day with, and sites that I deem worth returning to.
The Castellines took their grown children (featured above on the Amalfi Coast) on a first trip to Italy last summer. Here are their thoughts:
“Thank you Claudia for making our first trip to Italy so memorable and wonderful. The accommodations ranged from superb to exquisite, the tours were outstanding, and the combination of sight seeing and active days was the perfect mix for our family. The hike on the Path of the Gods, bike ride through Tuscany, chartered boat to Capri and the visit with [olive oil producers] Janet and Stefano were remarkable experiences that allowed us to truly experience the beauty of Italy and this special culture. Your knowledge and guidance while planning provided us with experiences that we never would have had without your expertise. Thank you again for making this a special vacation!”
A final note: travel consultants can guide you through the confusing world of travel protection insurance, helping you to understand fully what this insurance does and does not cover. There is a lot of information and misinformation about this topic, and a good travel consultant will help you cut to the chase to understand if the extra cost is worthwhile to protect your travel investment.